I continued working on my third collage today. I wanted to experiment with the idea of a repeated image. I used the images from my shadow photos of me and the sheep that I took last week.
I was thinking of a reddish-orange background….
And at the same time I worked on that I started to fill in the images of the woman. Right now it’s reminds me a little too much of the cover of a dress pattern. I don’t mind that connection, I actually like it, but I don’t want it to overpower the piece.
It’s the first one I have a name for. It’s called “I Belong To Me“.
This is as far as I got today. It got to the point where I couldn’t see it clearly anymore, so I knew it was time to stop.
The little doilies were sent to me in a flat white box. So many of them in varying sizes and designs. I kept them in the box on my desk because they seemed so special to me. Like I know I’ll be able to use them but have no idea how just yet.
Then there was the Tupperware container of red dye that I kept after using it to dye the lace for my Three Graces fabric painting. Every morning I’d move it from its place on top of the cat food container to the top of the washing machine and back again. I knew I wanted to use it before I dropped it and it spilled all over the place giving the floor a permanent pink hue.
It wasn’t a stretch of the imagination to dye the doilies red. They were practically begging me to do it.
So I finally did.
I still don’t know how I’ll use them. But I’m one step closer to finding out.
I rummaged through the fabric scraps that Karen sent me looking for just one that captured my attention. It’s how I began making each potholder today, searching for the beginning.
I haven’t given up on making collage or my artist residency. But today I just felt like doing some sewing.
I guess I wanted something familiar.
It made me think of the time I was in therapy and was remembering some difficult childhood events. At one point I just stopped and instead told my therapist, Selma, about the big Victorian house that I sometimes went to in my mind. “Ah”, she said, “your safe place. It’s good you have a place to go when you need to.”
My artist residency is by no means a trauma, but it felt grounding to design some potholders today.
I wondered if it would feel different if my potholders would look different after working for over a week on something I’d never done before. But I can’t really tell if the collage has changed the way I sew in any way.
I do believe that whatever I do eeks its way into my work over time, in one way or another.
The thing that I have noticed is that I feel less anxious about my work. Less anxious about having enough time to get it done (often an issue with me) and less anxious about whether or not I’ll sell it.
I don’t know if that will last, but at least I know what it feels like and it’s possible to achieve.
I heard from Liz, our shearer last week. She’ll be coming soon to shear the sheep soon. I won’t know when until a few days before, that’s how it works. She’ll make sure to have a few other shearing jobs in the area at the same time.
I know the wool insulates the sheep but it’s gotten very hot very quickly and I can’t help thinking that they will be relieved to be rid of their winter’s wool. I let them graze for a couple of hours in the morning and evening when the sun isn’t as strong.
Once a week Emily Gold (a fellow Bellydancer) and I have a Zoom Studio Share. We talk mostly about what art we made that week.
This week Emily was working on animating one of her drawings. (you can see some of her work including some of her animations here) and I showed her my collages.
Emily has been doing collage for a long time. She was the one who inspired and encouraged me to try it.
I was telling her how I realize that I’m just learning how to use the different materials. And that I’m still very unsure about what I’m doing. Although I do have the feeling that the pieces are, like my other work, beginning to let me know what they want.
One of the things we talked about was keeping the subject matter simple. Either repeating one image or idea or just creating a ground with the collage and then having one image or idea that the piece is about.
It was with our conversation in mind that I made the collage above.
The photo below is what the collage looked like yesterday.
A part of me wonders about covering up all those interesting images. But I’m thinking that maybe all of that is necessary to get to the point where I am now. That the images, composition and color wouldn’t have happened without first laying down all drawings, fabric, paper etc. that I did.
I turned up the steep curving driveway to the old farmhouse with the weathered siding and teal trim. By the time I got out of my car Carol was already in the driveway. Her horse, Star, and Llama, Vanilla watched as I walked past the towering lilac bush and stopped six feet away from Carol.
She held up her arms as if holding the whole world in them and said, “This is my Coronavirus hug.” I held up my arms and hugged her back.
Carol and I had plans to take a walk through the woods behind her farm in March. But everything seemed to change so quickly back then and before we had the chance to get together the lockdown was in place.
Last Thursday, instead of talking to my friend Mandy on the phone, as we have every week since the lockdown began, we took a walk then sat on her deck for a while afterward. We were both thrilled just to see each other in person again.
I emailed Carol shortly after that and we made plans to get together.
Last year I had given Carol a few lenses for her iPhone camera. I couldn’t use them anymore because they didn’t fit my new iPhone. Carol is a wonderful photographer and I had a feeling she’d get as much out of them as I had. (If you like nature, animals, and art it’s worth looking at Carol’s Instagram) In exchange, today I picked out four of Carol’s batiks printed on fabric.
When Carol’s friend and neighbor, Monica, showed up the three of us headed into the woods.
Monica, who knows all the many trails that extend for miles, reaching into the town north of us, led the way. Some of them are snowmobile trails, some ATV trails, and some old roads. It’s easy to see which is which by the surface we were walking on. The ATV trails are worn down to dirt, the snowmobile trails clear of fallen trees and branches, the old roads are wide but unkept.
We walked for two hours, spotting wildflowers, frogs, snakes, newts, chipmunks, and Star’s hoof prints from when Carol walked with her a few days before. At one point we stopped to listen to the conversation between two Barred Owls. “They’ll have their chicks by now” Monica told us.
I had never met Monica before yet the three of us walked and talked with the ease of old friends.
When we emerged from the woods into one of the fenced-off horse pastures, Carol handed me a piece of carrot from her pocket so I could feed it to Star who seemed to expect it.
We had drank all of our water and were sweaty, the temperature was already in the mid-eighties. But our walk had given me a renewed sense of calm. My mind was quiet and content.
Soon we stood in a wide circle in the driveway where our morning together began. The three of us saying goodbye, held up our arms in a Coronavirus hug.
Then we turned away from each other, Carol walked back to her house, Monica to her bicycle at the bottom of the driveway and me to my car.
I waved out my open window as I drove past Monica pedaling uphill on Route 40. I haven’t felt that free in months.